Conjuring the Past

Story and pictures by Susan Millar

Not content to tread the same path on my daily walks, I like to wander through different neighbourhoods, often with my daughter’s little black dog, JoJo, in tow. I am always struck by the variety of homes and buildings that tell a story of our city’s past when life was so different than today.

What often captures my attention are the small homes that speak of times when our lives weren’t bulging with consumer goods and simpler in many ways, when time stretched longer. Many seem so appealingly cozy such as this one in Sapperton.

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In the same neighbourhood is a house that always jumps out at me, because of its bold meticulously-painted exterior.

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I imagine myself enjoying the morning sun in the upstairs gallery of this Sapperton residence – I’m not sure whether is a single home or a double.

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I often bring a camera on my rambles, which affords me the opportunity to get a closeup look, through a long lens, at many design features that speak of time when workmanship was of another order.

 

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There are beautiful heritage homes throughout the city, especially across it’s middle. This elegant Victorian home is in the western part of the city. Can you imagine the gracious parties that might have happened there in years gone by?

 

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Queen’s Park has a great concentration of heritage homes, some small and inviting, some large and elegant and everything in between. This home appeals to me because of it’s low profile and closeness to the street in seeming expectation of a vibrant street life.

 

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Many homes are bedecked with weather vanes that speak of bygone days. I like the energy in this one.

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In the commercial districts, there are artifacts that speak of business and entertainment in earlier times.

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In Fraserview and West Sapperton, which are peppered with condos at most a quarter century old, there is still evidence of the Penitentiary that long occupied this area. This austere building on Richmond Street is called the ‘Gaol’.

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One of the City’s best views of the Fraser River has been reserved for the dead. The cemetery in that same neighbourhood is chock full of stories of people who lived here in the early days of the city. One mourns for this soldier who died before his life really started, killed during World War I.

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Behind the material expression of New Westminster’s heritage, one can peak through the veil of time to what came before, which can seem so alien and so familiar at the same time.

On your next walk, turn your attention to those signs of our heritage. They can take you on a fascinating flight of the imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Millar

Susan Millar is an award winning content producer-writer of television documentaries and a freelancer working in a wide variety of media. Her new passion is photography, you may see her wandering with camera in hand.

Susan Millar is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.

2 comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. Beautiful pictures. FYI the house in Sapperton is a fourplex

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